PhD, University of Iowa
Office: 2560 Thomas Hall, 919-515-5760
Website: Visit our Lab Home Page
Research Areas: Molecular / Cell / Development
The thrust of the research in my laboratory is the role of chromatin structure in the control of gene expression in higher plants. In order for genes to be expressed, transcription factors and RNA polymerases must bind to control sequences. These sequences are normally inaccessible due to the structure of chromatin. What changes in chromatin structure are necessary to unblock the control sequences? How do these changes occur? In order to approach these questions, I study the physical properties of histones and interactions of these proteins, the major protein components of chromosomes, with DNA. I also study a group of chromosomal proteins, the HMG proteins, which have been implicated as structural proteins of transcriptionally active chromatin.
Bode, J., Winkelmann, S., Götze, S., Spiker, S., Tsutsui, K., Chengpeng, B., Prashanth, A.K., and Benham, C. (2006). Correlations between Scaffold/Matrix Attachment Region (S/MAR) binding activity and DNA duplex destabilization energy. J. Mol. Biol. 358: 597–613.
Thompson, W.F., Spiker, S., and Allen, G.C. (2006). Matrix Attachment Regions and transcriptional gene silencing. Annual Plant Reviews. 29: 136–161 (in Annual Plant Reviews, Regulation of Transcription in Plants, K. Grasser, ed. Blackwell).
Francis, K.E., and Spiker, S. (2005). Identification of Arabidopsis thaliana transformants without selection reveals a high occurrence of silenced T-DNA integrations. The Plant Journal. 41: 464–477. [pdf]
Halweg, C., Thompson, W.F., and Spiker, S. (2005). The Rb7 matrix attachment region increases the likelihood and magnitude of transgene expression in tobacco cells: a flow cytometry study. The Plant Cell. 17: 418-429. [pdf]
Michalowski, S.M., Allen, G.C., Hall, G.E., Jr., Thompson, W.F., and Spiker, S. (1999). Characterization of randomly-obtained matrix attachment regions (MARs) from higher plants. Biochemistry. 38: 12795–12804. [Abstract]